Holiday home saved from frequent floods by stilts made from local trees in South Limburg
On the slippery banks of the River Geul in South Limburg is an unassuming little property recently completed by Upfrnt architects with WHD Interieurbouw and Zwarthout. Using a traditional Japanese technique for burning cedar wood panels known as Shou-Sugi-Ban, the team has devised a homely wooden structure whose black exterior has a subtle silver gleam when hit by the light.
This private holiday home is a rare development project in the area, with the local Gulpen-Wittem council typically rejecting such construction plans. In this case however, the project was given the green light on the understanding that a number of dilapidated buildings were removed from the site in exchange.
The result is a small and cosy home angled away from intrusive looks of the rambling public yet still capturing scenic views of the river and surrounding countryside. Large windows have been installed throughout for sunlight to filter in and the residents to enjoy the natural environment with a raised terrace should they wish to sit outside.
One of the biggest challenges on this project was the constant threat of flooding. Should the water level of the river rise dramatically, a standard house on its banks would be lost under several feet of water. As such, the design team as raised the property onto poles manufactured from local trees and created a raised pathway to connect the house with an alley at the rear.
A prefabricated design, this humble holiday residence was largely built in Amsterdam and constructed in just three months on site in South Limburg. Eco-friendly principles are stitched in throughout, including: a Helofytenfilter to purify waste water and channel it back into the river; underground ventilation pipes; solar panels; triple glass; and extra insulation.